Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Puppy Class - Week One

The first night of puppy class was an active one.

Following introductions we talked about what makes a great companion dog and a great performance dog. Interestingly enough, they are almost exactly the same things. When you think about it, you want a dog that is well behaved at home and in public. One that is quite in a crate, will walk politely on a leash, and probably most importantly, come when it's called!

We broke up into pairs to play the "Human Clicker Game". I find this very helpful for those that haven't worked a lot with Behavior Shaping or Clicker training. In this exercise, one person is the dog, the other the handler. The 'dog' gets to choose her 'rewards'. Last night our 'dogs' had a choice of peanut butter m&ms or skittles. Our handlers randomly selected a 'trick' to teach their 'dogs'. We learned the importance of timing and placement of reward. Some 'dogs' were much more 'clicker savvy' than others. Meaning they were much more willing to 'offer behaviors'. This would indicate a solid understanding of shaping. Try something until you get it right!

Here's Kathy showing that "She can be TAUGHT", sitting nicely on her mat!

Meme showing us how you should use "Placement of your Rewards"!
Becky being a "GOOD DOG" is following the cookie with her mouth!
Meme wants Becky to place the bar on her forehead.

This game is really a lot of fun.
Not only that, it really shows you are BRILLIANT our dogs are!

It was time to begin the first 3 phases of Susan Garrett's Crate Games!
One thing I did notice is the quality of treats being used.
You do not want to use the "same old" training treats for crate games.
You want something truly TASTY for your dog!
Not necessarily something 'new', but SPECIAL!
A treat your dog would walk on hot coals to get to.
(we will not be walking our puppies on hot coals)

Phase ONE - I Love my Crate

Your hand goes on the door, puppy will learn to sit.
Reward, high and to the back.

Here's Beth and Jeep.
Jeep is so smart!
Hand on the door, he is sitting.

Phase TWO - Be a Gambler

This stage involves challenging your puppy just a little.
You want him to be successful.
Open the door confidently and feed a cookie.
Work up to being able to put your leash on without
the puppy coming forward in the kennel.
Puppy moves forward, door gets shut.

Phase Three - Yer Out, Yer In

We're finally ready to let the puppy out of the crate.
Clip on leash and reward puppy for staying sitting at back of kennel.
Release the puppy - you might have to encourage him out.
Standing on leash, wait for him to decide to go back in.
When he goes in, HUGE PARTY!!
Do not play back to back games of this.
Do more Phase Two in-between.

Here's Carol -
"I don't know what all the fuss is about? My puppy is PERFECT!"

Next week we'll move to phase FOUR and some other fun foundations games to play with your puppy. We'll also Name our Crate! We haven't called it ANYTHING up until this point. We're letting them make the decisions to go in on their own.

See you next week! Remember to bring a pop or water flat.


  1. Me too. (Or at least the M&M's.)

  2. Heck - I might even come to watch some night, loaded with treats of course - I need a puppy fix and puppies love me!!!!! This looks and sounds like a fun class.